This is the second half of a blog series on B2B content ideas for ongoing or consistent content production. For Part 1, click here.
4. Conference attendance
For any type of professional event you are hosting or attending, you should create content. This could be simple blog posts or even emails letting your readers know the who, what, when, where and why of what you are attending/hosting. If you want your readers to engage with you in some way at the event (e.g. meet with you at a conference), make sure you publish/send the content far enough in advance for people to make plans.
5. Common objections
In B2B sales, you often hear the same objections over and over again during your sales process (e.g. “We don’t do SaaS products” or, “I don’t want to outsource X”). Building content around these common objections allows you to have collateral when you run into these objections on phone calls. Just imagine the conversation: the objection is raised, and your sales rep is able to say, “I totally appreciate you raising that issue. It is a fair concern that we hear all the time and to address it, could I send you this quick blog we’ve published on the topic?”.
6. New client mentions
If you have your client’s permission, you can write blogs or send updates in newsletters each time you bring on a new client successfully. A lot of online business news publications will publish these types of updates if submitted in the form of a press release, especially if the client is particularly well known or the solution is novel in some way. Along the same lines, you can also publish content when your clients achieve some type of success that you have been instrumental in creating (e.g. winning an award, surviving an IT disaster, passing an audit with flying colors, etc.).
7. Comparison matrix
For more complex sales like SaaS platforms or management consulting services, creating a comparison matrix can be very helpful. By comparing features, levels or protection, levels of maturity, pricing, etc., you can help you prospects in their decision making process while highlighting the value of your solution. For example, if your software solution has four or five features that your major competitors do not, a matrix is a great way to quickly prove that difference in a visual format.
Creating content is always going to require some work, but sometimes coming up with an idea is more than half the battle. Hopefully these ideas help you get started!
For more tips on publishing marketing content in 2014, read:
3 Things to Add to Your Blogs in 2014
Feel free to contact us with any questions or visit our services page to learn more about our B2B content development services.
Every marketing survey and report seems to be touting the same advice: create more, quality content.
For most businesses engaged in content marketing, coming up with a few blog ideas and an initial white paper is pretty easy. Consistently coming up with ideas two years later is a bit more difficult.
We’ve put together a list of seven ideas for generating quality B2B content on a consistent basis:
1. News sources
Creating content that references something happening in the news is now a fairly common practice. The news your content references must be relevant to your business or solution in some way. You can set up alerts on Google with specific keywords or key phrases, so you will be notified immediately when something pertaining your business occurs. This type of content does not have to be complex or very detailed; just restate the ‘news’ portion and add a few paragraphs of commentary giving your take on the issue.
2. Legal/regulatory compliance updates
For companies selling products and services that have legal or compliance related issues, giving your readers updates can be highly valuable. The Dodd Frank Bill and the Affordable Care Act are two recent examples of regulatory changes that are having a huge impact on their respective industries. By giving expert commentary and advice on how to handle these types of changes, you can highlight your status as an industry thought leader while giving readers something they will find truly valuable.
3. Features updates
Another good idea for ongoing content production is features or services updates. This is pretty common sense, but every time you update your product, service, delivery method, training process or anything else that adds value to the business, write a blog or make a video about it. Make sure that if you use the content in marketing campaigns, send it to your current customers (as well as your current prospects) for a potential upsell opportunity.
To continue reading the second half of this blog series, click here.
Over the past few years, we have created a lot of different types of videos for our clients. We are finding that one of the most valuable types of videos to use in the B2B sales process is a ‘headshot’ video of an executive.
These are effective for several reasons. First, they allow prospects to start to get to know the people behind the company. B2B sales is (and has always been) about relationship building and headshot videos help to start this process in a digital format. Second, humans are hardwired to pay attention to faces; apparently, the Fusiform Facial area of the brain causes this. In the midst of thousands of marketing messages coming at your prospects each day, anything that can encourage them to pay more attention is good.
If you have never created a headshot video before, here are 5 basic tips to help you get started:
- Dress professionally. What this means may differ from company to company (i.e. an enterprise software company vs. a hip, new tech startup), but looking the part is always a good place to start. Make sure your clothes, hair, makeup, etc. are in line with your company’s image.
- Address sound quality. For people new to video production, sound can be a hard thing to get right. Start by making sure there is no background noise in the space you are recording. To create a tone of professionalism, make sure your executive has a relatively high-quality microphone.
- Check your lighting. If you do not have a professional video studio with lighting, your best bet is to shoot in a room with a lot of natural light. Whatever you do, stay away from harsh lighting and directional lighting for headshots.
- Add a text bar. For headshot videos, you want it to be immediately clear who is speaking. Always put the name and title of the featured executive in a text bar at the beginning and end of the video.
- Don’t shoot with your iPhone. This goes without saying, but you need to produce high quality videos if you want them to be effective as a sales tool. Your best bet is to shoot in HD. If this is not affordable, try to go for a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of at least 640×360.
If you would like to see an example of an executive headshot video, you can watch this testimonial video from one of our clients. For more on the value of video in B2B sales, read 3 Reasons You Should Leverage B2B Video in 2014.
While 93% of B2B companies are now engaged in content marketing, it seems many are still struggling to see their content have a direct impact on sales. An interesting survey from McKinsey suggests the reason for this has to do with the branding or messaging behind the content. The data shows that what companies think makes a good brand and what customers want from a brand are two different things.
The survey asked B2B customers what they cared about most when looking to select a company or brand. The three top responses were:
- Cares about honest, open dialogue with its customers and society
- Acts responsibly across its supply chain
- Has a high level of specialist expertise
However, when B2B companies were asked what branding message they were conveying to customers, the top three responses were:
- Role-models corporate social responsibility in its work
- Promotes and practices sustainability in its products or services
- Has global reach
These findings suggest B2B companies are missing an opportunity to connect with customers by talking past them. It seems that B2B companies may be attempting way more than they need to in their branding and marketing content.
Based on these responses, B2B companies seem to think they need to save the world. They seem to think customers want superheroes who can travel the world at lighting speed and solve the world’s environmental problems in their free time.
While customers would probably like that, it is not what they care most about while shopping for a B2B solution. Looking at the top responses, B2B customers simply want to know that you are genuine, responsible and good at what you do.
So, when coming up with your brand story and determining how to best tell that story through digital content, don’t over complicate or attempt to be something more than you are. Just explain what you do and how you do it in an authentic and helpful way.
For more on telling a consistent brand story, read What Confuses Your Prospect Most About Your Sales Process. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
By definition, outsourcing in any industry is going to involve giving up some level of control.
Obviously, each company is going to have a slightly different stance on how much control they are willing to give up for each outsourced function. While we understand and completely appreciate not wanting to just ‘hand over the keys’ so to speak, there is a certain level of control that has to be given up in order for productivity to occur.
We sometimes run into this issue in discussions with prospects who are considering our sales and marketing outsourcing services. We often hear, “I have all the scripts, lists and content I need. I just need you to make calls. Also, I want you to be accountable for your results.”
Requests like this put outsourcers in a tough spot. In this type of situation, the outsourcer has zero control over the sales strategy, the messaging, the lists that are procured, the content, etc, and at the same time, they are accountable for the results produced. Companies who make these requests are essentially attempting to keep control over the entire sales process while placing the accountability on the outsourcer. From a business perspective, this just doesn’t make sense.
If you are asking someone to be successful, and you are not giving them any control over that process, you can’t expect them to be accountable for that—you haven’t given them any control over their own success or failure. By retaining the control yourself, what you gave them predetermined what their outcome was going to be.
Although sometimes it is uncomfortable, sales outsourcing generally requires giving up a great deal of control. In order to really get the true metrics that outsourcing can produce, you have allow those who are experts to lead the way. It is likely that you are already a thought leader in your field of expertise. If that field is not sales, and your sales are struggling, it is probably better to let someone with sales expertise take the lead. Sometimes to be successful, the best thing to do is simply get out of the way.
If you would like to know more about the value of sales outsourcing, read 5 Advantages of Sales Outsourcing in 2014. Feel free to contact us with any questions.